CVS Vanilla Reload Update – Memo To Customers

Our site may contain affiliate links from our partners, such as American Express. Read Advertiser Disclosure policy here. Some offers may have expired or are unavailable at this time. Terms Apply to Offers.

I thought I’d share an interesting update from an experience at my local CVS. Not only have they received a memo, but now they are issuing memos to customers. That’s right, take a look at the memo in the picture below greeting guests at the gift card center.

It states the following:

  • Maximum gift card purchase is $1,000 per day
  • Maximum money order is $2,500 per day
  • Maximum money gram is $2,000 per day

Memo To Customers

Now this is not totally bad news for folks looking to pick up some VR cards to load onto a Bluebird® by American Express card, it does change things a little. Customers used to be able to purchase up to $1,000 per transaction with little hassle but with the latest memo that has changed.

When I took two VR cards to the counter and asked to load them with $500 each, the clerk said “that will prompt me to scan your ID” to which my reply was I’ll take just one. I inquired what was the reason for the change and she stated that it helps them track money laundering.

Gift Card Rack

Bottom Line

CVS allows VR cards up to $1,000 per transaction but will likely require an ID to be scanned into their system.

Sign up for Email || Twitter || Facebook || Tips & Tricks

Hotel Offers || Airline Offers || Bank Offers || Cash Back Offers

Points, Miles & Martinis will earn a small referral credit for successful applications through the links in this post. We always appreciate any support for Points, Miles & Martinis by using our affiliate links.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

Sign up for Email || Twitter || Facebook |Tips & Tricks
Hotel Offers || Airline Offers || Bank Offers || Cash Back Offers


  1. I’m confused. Weren’t we just informed that we could get up to $5000 in a single transaction last week. Has CVS now become the police that they are looking for money launderers? Who do they turn the names over to? Not sure I like this turn of events.

  2. Seems they all want to make their own rules. I have one with $5k no prob, another $1k is scary to them and they don’t know anything about a $5k rule change (only a few miles away from each other).

    I have no problem with anyone taking my ID to buy anything. I don’t do anything illegal.

  3. Agree with Jane. How is this different than what we already have in place? I can currently go into a CVS and get 1000 VR without an ID scan. Then the $5k news came out the other day, and now your post is referencing $1k of VRs with an ID scan as the new policy, but not only was $1k already fine, but the ID scan is a step backward, if true. If anything there is no ‘bottom line’ yet because we need more data points.

  4. We need multiple people to try $1k VRs too. The clerk could’ve easily been wrong about it prompting an ID scan for $1k. He/she could’ve easily been getting confused with the other rules for other cards.

  5. Before we throw CVS to the wolves, lets realize that it is most likely the Patriot Act which is the cause of our strife. By selling gift cards and other stored money instruments, they become “money services businesses” and are required to register with the treasury and implement anti-money laundering protocols. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself.

  6. Visited two CVS stores in Carson City NV.Told by both at register that they are CASH only. Got the same at Office depot.

  7. I think the difference is $5K per day but only $1k per transaction. I bought 3 VRs the other day and they had to do 2 transactions.

  8. FWIW, I bought $5,000 in Vanilla Reloads at a CVS in South Florida last night and the store manager didn’t bat an eyelash. I called my CC to let them know what I was about to do.

  9. Before we get all mad at CVS, Office Depot, 7-Eleven and the others, did you know that the Patriot Act classified them all as “money service businesses” whom are required to report to the Department of Treasury about their Anti-Money Laundering programs. Don’t believe me, read for yourself.

    The money services businesses
    category of financial institutions subject
    to Part 103 includes a variety of nonbank
    financial institutions: currency
    dealers or exchangers; check cashers;
    issuers of traveler’s checks, money
    orders, or stored value; sellers or
    redeemers of traveler’s checks, money
    orders, or stored value; and money

  10. Dont be greedy. I do , 500 and 490 and no Id issues at all. I use the express self check booth. And goes thru like a charm. No clerk input needed but to swipe and click OK, most of the time they dont even look.

  11. Got two $500 VRs at a CVS and the first one went through and then when the clerk went to load the second one, she asked for ID. I said to just do one but she said, “Oh it will go through” so I did it. Paid for with CC, no prob. But at another CVS in another state, I bought one for $500 and also had my ID taken. WIsh I knew where this info is going…

  12. What amount of a transaction triggers request for identification per the Patriot Act? What does CVS do with the information? Where do they store it or who do they give it to and do they REALLY give it to someone?
    I agree with Linda – where is this going to?

  13. Hi Jane – I’ve spoken with Amex Travel about why and how they track people’s transactions for money laundering. Apparently “just” goes into a system that is “secure” and is only accessed if there is suspected money laundering. They can search for patterns, etc to find what they are looking for with whatever it was that caused them to do the search for patterns in the first place.

  14. Picked up $1,500 tonight in NJ. 2 at $1k triggered an ID scan. 2nd transaction no issues. If you are afraid of having your ID scanned buy only one at a time as all of the CVS stories in my area are now set to scan IDs.

    Good luck all!

  15. I live in DC and just bought $2k in Vanilla tonight. I asked the cashier if he knew what the limit was and he said he was just told it was $5k. After he rang up the first 2 the computer prompted him to enter my ID information, but after that he was able to add the next two normally.

  16. I am still a bit unclear with the vanilla card. I wonder if the following scenario is possible:

    Purchase a Vanilla card, say, $500 at CVS, and the total will be $503.95, with a newly opened credit card (e.g. British Airways Chase). Repeat it a few times, and I will have met the spending requirements. $2000 for 50000 avios. And then, transfer the funds from the 4 Vanilla card back to my BA Chase Visa card, or back to my bank and pay the credit card.

    is that possible?

  17. Connie… you are very wrong here…

    Flyer… add a few non VR transactions, such as groceries or gasp… an airline ticket

  18. So, the short answer is yes. But as long as I don’t go obnoxious about it, and use it with something else, I should be OK. Correct?

  19. Did a test today on two different cards in a CVS in Atlanta. Bought 2 cards ($500 each) on one credit card, total was $1,007.90 (after taxes/fees). This transaction required ID scan.

    I then bought 2 cards ($500 on one, $499 on the other) on one credit card, total was $1,006.90 (after taxes/fees). That transaction did NOT require an ID scan.

    So next time I’ll try a $500.00 and a $499.99 on the same transaction out of curiosity and see if that requires a scan! As of now, it appears the minimum for an ID scan is a hard line at $1000.00, but we need one more data point to be clear.

  20. For those using the old Amex BC to purchase beans, are you still getting the 5% you were once getting a few months ago? Have you tried to fix only receiving 1% at CVS with any success?

  21. You better be careful when buying these. I’ve been buying these at my local CVS for a month but bought one today ($500),which they activated using the barcode on the package, BUT when I logged into their website to check the balance I was told it was an invalid card number. I called the Vanilla people who told me the card insie the package I bought IS NOT the card that goes with the barcode on the outside. First thing I noticed when I opened it there was no sticker on the front telling you to register your zip code.

    Apparently someone switched cards with this package and is now has rhe “real” card with my $500 on it. I can’t get Vanilla nor CVS to do anything. The manager at CVS is talking to me like I switched cards and trying to rip them off.

    From now on I’m opening the cards in front of the cashier before leaving. This card was previous used. It has a scratch on the front and a smudge on the back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *